Ever since COVID-19 forced us all inside I have been craving shows and movies that bring me comfort. I have compiled a list of shows, spanning from the early aughts to the early 2010s, that have given me all the nostalgic feels. From a group of strangers stranded on a mysterious island to a teenage private eye solving crimes to a vampire romance, you are sure to find the perfect escape.
1 – Lost (2004)
The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 were 1,000 miles off course when they crashed on a lush, mysterious island. I would argue ABC’s Lost changed TV forever and did things that no other show was doing at the time. And to no one’s surprise, it is truly just as good on the rewatch. Lost is so intricate with so many characters and storylines; rewatching it with the knowledge of how it ends is a fascinating experience. I envy those who haven’t seen it and who get to watch it for the first time. The mystery is so enchanting it makes the viewer desperate to hit “Next Episode.”
2 – The O.C. (2003)
The O.C. is a classic teen show from the aughts, but it sets itself apart from the rest. It deals with issues of substance abuse, mental health, class disparities, and much more. Plus, there’s cute boys. The Fox show follows Ryan Atwood, a teenager from the wrong side of the Chino tracks, who finds himself in affluent Newport Beach — an enclave of Southern California’s Orange County. Ryan is taken in by a lawyer and his family and is thrown in with a bunch of snide, wealthy high schoolers. I recently started rewatching the show with my roommates, two of whom had not seen it before. After the first episode, one of them said, “Wow I liked that. I thought it was just about a bunch of rich kids.” There are definitely rich kids in The O.C., but there is so much more to it than that.
3 – The Vampire Diaries (2009)
The Vampire Diaries (TVD) follows Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), a teenage girl who has just lost both parents in a car accident and who is suddenly torn between two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). This show holds a special place in my heart. There is almost nothing I love more than a story with a supernatural element, combine that with compelling characters and you’ve got me hooked. The Vampire Diaries is thrilling, heart-wrenching, and addicting. I have to give a big shout out to Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, the creators of TVD, for giving me the show of my dreams. The big question I will leave you with is, are you Team Stefan or Team Damon? I dare you to watch this show and not have an insanely strong opinion about this.
4 – Veronica Mars (2004)
This one is a unique addition to the list because it is the only show I did not watch when it was on TV. Better late than never I always say. After a series of personal and family traumas have made her an outcast, Veronica (Kristen Bell) begins to help her father, a private investigator, dig into the lives of the rich and famous in the messed-up town of Neptune, California. Veronica Mars has many elements of what I love, including a murder mystery, a love triangle, and a strong female character at the helm. The mysteries in this show are always so well thought out and engaging. That coupled with the sarcastic and snarky sense of humor Veronica displays, makes this an unforgettable hit. This teenage PI runs circles around everyone she interacts with but can’t seem to stay out of trouble, thank goodness for Backup (wink wink)!
5 – Hart of Dixie (2011)
As a midwesterner, I don’t know much about southern culture. As a New Yorker, the main character of The CW show Hart of Dixie probably knows even less. Doctor Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) has reached a crossroads in her life when she decides to accept an offer from a stranger to work with him at his practice in Alabama. When she arrives in town, she discovers that the man has died and left her his half of the practice in his will, something that makes her new partner very unhappy. Zoe decides to make the best of the situation and stay and work at the practice. The show is funny, charming, and heartfelt, just like the array of characters that inhabit the town of Bluebell. Hart of Dixie lacks the darkness of so many shows today and always keeps it light and fun. I think lightness and fun is something we could use a bit more of right now, don’t you?